At least 150,000 indigenous children were forced to attend some 140 residential schools across the country, which were funded by the federal government and run by churches. The children had been forcibly taken from their families in order to strip them of their cultural identity.
Under the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement (IRSSA) between the Canadian federal government, indigenous representatives and the various church bodies that operated the schools, more than Can$3 billion (US$2.4 billion) has been paid to compensate survivors, as of March 2021.
While the other churches have apparently paid their amounts-due in full, the Catholic Church has failed to meet its quota. Besides being required to make a lump cash payment of Can$29 million (US$23.2 million) and provide Can$25 million (US$ 20 million) of “in-kind services,” the church was to give its “best efforts” to raise Can$25 million (US$20 million) for survivors.
The church had claimed to have paid most of the cash amount and fulfilled its “in-kind services” commitment. In 2015, it invoked the “best efforts” clause in court where a judge absolved it of the legal obligation to pay the remaining unpaid sum of $21 million (US$16.8 million) from that fundraising campaign.